Hog Tails BarBQue
645 Laurelwood Drive
So I am the type of person that keeps my ears and mind open about new foodie locations. Recently on an Airways Van home from the airport, I started to talk to my drive about food and the food scene in the KW region. He happened to mention that his wife's favourite restaurant was Hog Tails in Waterloo. She was a picky eater but loved this place. This of course planted a seed...I needed to try this place.
To tell the truth, I've been asked recently a lot of questions about good Southern BBQ in our area. I know that quite a few places exist in the Toronto area but around these parts, I only know of Camp 31 in Paris, Ontario. So I was thrilled when this gentleman mentioned this restaurant.
In her opinion:
I went prepared, having studied the menu before venturing out to Waterloo for a late lunch, early supper. The place is in a strip mall in a residential area...easy to miss if you aren't looking...but look for it! It's worth it. It isn't fancy or big. We counted 24 seats in the entire place. It wasn't overly crowded but then it was in the middle of a Saturday not quite dinner time.
The waitress was quite attentive. She took our drink order right away and I was sad that they served Pepsi products but delighted that they had just added Mill Street Organic to their limited beer selection on tap.
For my appetizer, I order the "Shrimp and Grits". It is described as a South Carolina low country classic, of Creamy Anson Mills grits with Gulf white shrimp in a rich roux based sauce. It was served in a cast iron dish with house smoked bacon.
This was so delicious. The grits were hot and creamy. The shrimp was moist and delicious in the roux based sauce and I like the way that the bacon added a bit of smokiness to the whole thing.
For my main course, I was excited about ordering "The General's Southern Fried Chicken". This large breast of chicken was accompanied by a choice of two sides, I picked sweet potato fries and molasses baked beans and it came with a piece of the sweet honey cornbread.
I found the chicken breast dry in some spots and not as moist as I had hoped. The fries were very good as were the beans which had a spicy kick to them. I loved loved the cornbread. It was so moist and delicious.
Overall, I enjoyed this place. I will say that I preferred the fried chicken from Camp 31 but otherwise this BBQ experience was much better. The portions were huge and the food was quite delicious. They also have daily specials and a good take out business. It's a shame that they are not closer to Cambridge. They also own the Lancaster Smokehouse at the old Lancaster Tavern at 574 Lancaster Street West in Waterloo, Ontario (actually the border of Kitchener/Waterloo).
In his opinion:
Hog tails is a pretty famous BBQ spot in Waterloo, Ontario. It is the type of place that most people either rave about or just don't get the whole hype. The many reviews on the internet back this theory and range from people that would either give them their first born to others that wished it would close soon. I decided to check it out for myself at my wife's suggestion.
The place is in a strip mall on Laurelwood and it does look and feel the part of a BBQ place. From the decorations, to the tables and even the T-shirts and BBQ photos on the wall, I believed it's intentions.
I was impressed that they carried a good choice of beer including some of my own favourite micro-breweries and I opted for a pint of Mill St. Organic to wet the appetite.
For Appetizer: Just to be different I decided to get shrimp as an appetizer (let's remember this is a Pork/BBQ place) and was quite surprised with the result. I ordered the Shrimp Calas, an old New Orleans street food dish. Shrimp and rice in a bite size fritter, served with Mustard Remoulade as dip. The combination rice/shrimp/batter work very well together...and the mustard was not something I would have paired with those fritters but, it somehow works very well.
For Entree: I was undecided as usual but just a few minutes before some people beside us had received their order and being the only dish I had ever heard of before and how great it was, I decided to go for it. The dish was Texas Fries. Normally I'm not much of a fries type of guy but as soon as there are some toppings, I'm usually game. Let me tell you that the incredible serving of this dish is a challenge for even the biggest eaters out there. It's a huge plate of hand cut fries topped with St. Albert (Ontario) cheese and drowned with brisket in gravy. When I say drowned in brisket, I am not exaggerating one bit (picture below). I could barely see the fries underneath it from the Mount Fuji of brisket covering it. It was delicious...just a few bites short of a heart attack from clogged arteries but extremely tasty and well cooked and seasoned.
The Good: Good old fashioned southern style BBQ without having to wait for the yearly Rib-Fest Festival to come to town.
The Bad: I tried my wife's General's Fried Chicken and was not very impressed...dry, super dry hard skin and the "break a tooth" type of batter to top.
The Verdict: Overall a good place, I'm yet to try the ribs but noticed from the people eating them beside us that they are not the "fall off the bone" type..Let's hope the seasoning does it's job and they don't overcook it to Sahara dryness like the General's Fried Chicken. Going to try them next time.
I give it a 3 Olives out of 5 as a rating.